Last summer, I introduced the Off-the-Shoulder Dress designed by yours truly. I started with basic solid colors and then added a contrasting band and then I even tried a couple prints. Today I wanted to talk about the evolution of this dress and how it can be purchased in my shop today.
These first photo is the basic black version of this dress. This is where I started. But really... it goes back before that. Back to when I first started sewing Barbie clothes in December of 2010....
I had been a working mom of three and after 5 years of struggling and fighting to make that work, I gave in and listened to what my heart was saying - I decided to be a stay at home mom (SAHM). This was the hardest and scariest decision ever... aside from the possible financial woes and the stress of taking care of three small children (at the time they were 4, 2, and 1), there was the question of "What am I going to do all day?".
I started making Barbie clothes after going to the local craft fair and seeing that there was no one making these anymore. It was something I had looked forward to buying for my daughter when she got older. The second pattern that I bought had the pieces to make a shirt similar to the dress we're talking about today. I had never sewn with knit fabrics before and had no clue where to begin. And there was the issue of my dinosaur of a sewing machine (it's 25 years old!) - it was chugging along ok, but it did not like these stretchy knits, especially when doing hems!! So I strayed away from that top and that fabric and moved on. But I kept coming back to wanting to work with these knits. They were so soft and there was so much I could do with them, if only I could get it to work!
Finally, I decided I would hand-stitch the hems. My machine was handling the seams just fine, so I would do the rest by hand. And I did! The first six dresses like this were made with hand sewn hems. My stitches were uneven at first, but they gradually got better. Oh, was I excited! But it was so time-consuming. How could I keep up with demand? How could I afford a cost-effective product? Well, I limited myself to just those six. If they sold, I may decide to remake them, but I wouldn't add any colors just yet.
In November of 2011, just 6 months ago, I bought myself a new machine - a Singer Stylist. Those first few nights sewing with it were a dream! All the issues I had been having with my ancient Kenmore were just distant gripes. I began to get more creative and I designed many more styles of dresses and skirts. I introduced a boutique style line of doll clothing that was made with brilliantly colored and patterned fabric.
Meanwhile, this Off-the-Shoulder dress of mine was selling. And selling often. And I was getting requests to make it in other colors! So the royal blue one came next. While all the others so far were made with cotton, this one is a polyester blend knit. It is still soft and stretchy, but it is more clingy - almost like Lycra, but not really. It is slippery and a little more difficult to work with that regular cotton, but it is so beautiful!
Now, I have begun adding more colorful versions of this dress - as you can see below! I have tried yellow with a white band and a peach ribbon, purple with a white band a lavender ribbon, and lime green with a navy band and lime green ribbon. Today, I took photos of two more of this dress - hot pink with a black band and ribbon, and pale pink with an ivory band and rose colored ribbon. They are too pretty, if I do say so myself.
So, how do you buy it, you ask? Simple! For a basic solid color dress, click here and be sure to specify which color you'd like! You can find the other dresses pictured here. Each dress is $11 plus shipping. And please remember, since these dresses are made brand new each time one is ordered, allow up to one week for completion. Normally it doesn't take me that long, but you never know what may happen and I like to give myself plenty of "just in case" time.
That's all for today, dolls! Thanks for letting me tell you about this fun, simple, and chic dress!